Have you ever watched that show ‘Extreme Couponing’? I have beat myself up trying to figure out how to get $600 worth of groceries for $20. Finally, I have given up that dream and have reconciled to just be happy with the savings I end up with. However, if money makes the world go round then saving it makes rainbows shine and blue birds sing, and I do everything in my power to save every penny.
I have a family of five and that includes two very expensive teenage daughters. My husband and I used to make over $100,000 a year and we spent money like we made over $100,000 a year too. We no longer make that much a year but we have as much spending money now as we did then because we are smarter with our money. It has been an eye-opening experience because I wonder what we could have done had we been smarter back when we were making more.
When you start looking at trying to save money it can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Just start small and let it grow. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro. Many of our readers are retired and living on fixed incomes, which is all the more reason to try to cut corners and save money.
We have put together a few great ideas to save yourself money. You have worked hard for it – so why shouldn’t you be able to keep more of it.
If the thought of clipping coupons and searching through circulars to price match at Wal-Mart leaves you with a headache than the Walmart Savings Catcher App is perfect for you. Just buy whatever products or groceries you normally would and checkout. Once you receive your receipt there is a QR code at the bottom of the receipt. You use the app to scan the QR code. The app then scans all the surrounding location ads. Not just grocery stores but pet stores, hardware stores, department stores, anyplace that runs specials. When it finds a price cheaper than what you paid it saves it to a Reward Dollars tab until you are ready to use the money. If you aren’t shy about asking the cashiers, they usually know if there is a special in your area on the two biggest grocery items. Milk and eggs. I haven’t paid more than $2.49 for a gallon of 2% milk and $1.49 for a dozen extra large eggs in over a year.
The bonus of this app is that it also saves all your receipts. So now you do not have to keep your paper receipt. Just scan the QR code and if you have to return something you can use the electronic receipt.
If you don’t mind price matching there are apps out there, like Shop Savvy, where you can scan any products bar code or QR code and it will check ads and online prices to see if it is listed cheaper anywhere else. Then if the item is listed on Walmart.com or fulfilled by Amazon cheaper Walmart will price match it.
An average cup of joe at a nationally recognized coffeehouse (Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc) is $3.25. If you have one cup of coffee every work day the cost per week is $16.25, per month $65 and per year $780.
The low-end cost of a Keurig is $149.99 high end $269.95. Spread out over 12 months on the high end that is $22.49 a month. Then you can buy any type of pod that you like. For the Starbucks Caffè Verona Coffee 24 ct, the price is $17.49. That is $.72 per cup. For a years worth of coffee, it would cost $252.35. For a combination of the coffee and the Keurig, it is a years total of $532.30 and spread out over a years worth of a 5 day work week it comes out to 251 days, which equates to a cost of $2.12 a day. Over the first year, you are already saving over the average cup of joe at a coffee shop. Then after the first year you will only be paying for the K-cups and even less if you use the reusable pods.
In the first year you will save $1.13 a day over an entire work week year you will save $283.63 by making your coffee at home (or office) vs at a high end coffee shop. After the first year you will save even more because the cost of the coffee machine will no longer be figured into your cost. You can even buy the reusable starbucks coffee cup if it makes the transition easier!
Of course everyone knows that the library is where you want to go if you want to read a book for free. It is the cheapest form of entertainment out there. However, did you know you can also check out movies, music and even a Kindle? Yep. Want to have a movie night with the family? You can go to the library and check out your favorite movies for free. Libraries offer so much more than just books. You can also use the internet at the library. This is very helpful if you use the internet intermittently. It may not make sense to be paying $30-$50 a month for home internet if you only use it a couple times a month to print recipes or check your email. You can do that all that from the library for free, saving you up to $600 a month maybe more depending on your internet provider.
You have probably heard that having your tires under inflated causes you to use more gas. It is usually said that for every two PSI of air pressure under the recommended level in your tires, you lose about 1% on your gas mileage. This was actually tested on the T.V. show ‘Mythbusters’. It was found that a car that had tires 15% underinflated used 1.2% more fuel. Tires overinflated used 6.2% less fuel because there is less surface area of rubber meeting the road. The savings works to around an average of $76 a year, however, the potential for blowout increases. This also increases your potential for added expense for a new tire. So be accurate, and don’t over inflate!
Cell Phone Use
I have a large cell phone bill, but that is also because I still have two children on the plan. So it gets expensive. However, my father and stepmother started looking at how much they were being charged per month for their cell phones and started shopping around. They found for 2 cell phones with unlimited minutes and texting, they would pay over $100. Certainly there had to be a cheaper way. This is when they decided to switch over to prepaid phones. They still have unlimited amount of minutes with texting for a set amount of money each month. For $30 a phone ($60 total) they had all they needed. Of course, if you need access to your email, the web, GPS and all that you would need a data plan, but they didn’t need all that. So, look at all your options if you are looking at bringing down your cell phone bill.
These are just a few money saving ideas. Even the smallest ideas will save the biggest money. Turning down/up (depending on the season) the thermostat when you are not home, drying your laundry on a clothes line during the warm months. All these little things add up to big savings and before you know it you’ll start to see the difference in your bank account.
Written by: Alisa Bashaw